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Motrin: How Not to Make a Video Viral

Pain reliever Motrin recently sparked a firestorm of controversy over an advertisement which attempted to be humorous, sympathetic and perhaps edgy...

Dan Gould
Dan Gould on November 17, 2008.

Pain reliever Motrin recently sparked a firestorm of controversy over an advertisement which attempted to be humorous, sympathetic and perhaps edgy but ended up insulting the very consumer group they were targeting. The offending video portrayed the practice of carrying a baby in a sling as an uncomfortable fashion statement, something that makes a mother look more “official”. The ad copy also implies that such baby carrying causes back and neck pain – which Motrin will help alleviate.

This point of view did not sit well with the “baby wearing” mothers of the internet. Over the weekend, Twitter exploded with negative commentary and blog posts racked up attacking the ad. In their defense, Motrin acted quickly and took down the video, but the damage may already be done.

Media Caffeine reports:

The flaws in this video are too numerous to list, but it’s clear that the tone was wrong, the message was absurd, and the only possible result was an enraged group of former customers.

On Twitter, the conversations have been furious.  As of the time of this post, #motrinmoms on Twitter has gone beyond the 1500 message archive limit in 12 hours, and there are several others going strong at #motrin, #motringate, and others.  The vast majority of the responses have been negative.

The blog response hasn’t been any better.  There have already been dozens of posts about it today.  Some classic ones are listed at the bottom of this story.  All are negative.  The response hasn’t been good, but as someone who has not experienced baby-wearing, I decided to consult an expert.

To test the ad, I showed it to my wife, a mother of three who has been there, done that.  I showed it to her with no prompting, no bias, just a “Hey honey, have you seen this?”

Her response at the 11 second mark: “Are you freakin’ kidding me?  This must have been made by a man who was completely clueless about anything we go through.”

Media Caffeine: “Motrin Learns: Hell Hath No Fury Like Baby-Wearing Moms”

Thinking...